Green Street plans a four story 268 unit apartment building at 4591 McRee to the west of Bar K in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. They would demolish the existing building. There would be 1,500 square feet of commercial space and structured parking. The estimated project cost is $75M. HDA is the architect.
The proposal has sparked controversy because tax abatement was originally approved for an entertainment venue at 4591 McRee with an estimated cost of $14.4M, in addition to Bar K and Green Street’s offices at 4565, not for a plan that includes this apartment building which means considerably larger tax abatement. The LCRA Board will consider revising the blighting study and development plan for 4565-4591 McRee at its June 28th meeting. It was pulled from the agenda of the May meeting at request of Ald. Phil. Tax incentives include sales tax exemption on construction materials valued at $1.686M and a property tax abatement of 90% for 10 years valued at $6.186M in today’s dollars. The LCRA scoring method gave the plan a perfect 40/40. The Board of Alderman passed BB 162, sponsored by former Ald. Roddy, for the tax abatement 26-0 Apr 20, 2020.
Is the tax abatement worth it? That hinges on whether it’s truly a “But For” situation and how we weigh short-term needs vs long-term ones. The building will out last the tax abatement, and certainly will be more productive than what’s there now. You’d need to know what could get built without the abatement to assess whether the ROI of the abatement works out from a tax base perspective. And there’s the cost of structured parking which is often on par with the tax incentives lately (268 spots (a guess) @ $20k each = $5.36M). Structured parking takes up less land than surface parking meaning things can be closer together and at higher land productivity. Reducing our thneed for parking would be the best of both worlds.